Ofsted comeback timing still not decided says Spielman

But 'outstanding' schools will now fall within scope of routine Ofsted inspections, when they do resume, chief inspector tells MPs
10th November 2020, 12:05pm

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Ofsted comeback timing still not decided says Spielman

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/ofsted-comeback-timing-still-not-decided-says-spielman
Ofsted Has Said It Is Considering What Form Its Inspections Should Take When It Returns To Schools.

There has still been "no decision" taken on when Ofsted school inspections will resume next year, chief inspector Amanda Spielman said today

Speaking at an accountability hearing of the Commons Education Select Committee, Ms Spielman said it was "very important" that inspections were resumed in 2021 but that education secretary Gavin Williamson would decide when this would be.

Asked by committee chair Robert Halfon MP what "scrutiny" was needed to ensure a generation of pupils were not "let down", Ms Spielman said: "I do believe that it's very important for children and for parents and government that school inspections do start again in the new year.


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"It's got to be the right time and in the right way, we've got to be able to do it safely, and we're discussing with ministers at the moment…really carefully how it can be done safely and sensibly and in a gradual way but with a really clear focus on how well children are learning whether it's in the classroom or remotely," she added.

But later in the meeting, asked by Tom Hunt MP about whether Ofsted would look at "serious deficiencies" in remote learning during the pandemic, she said decisions had not been made as to when inspections would resume.

"First of all no decisions have yet been taken. Our inspections were suspended by the secretary of state under the emergency legislation, so it's essentially for the secretary of state to decide when we can restart inspection and on what basis and doing what kind of work, so please don't take anything at this point as an announcement of any kind," Ms Spielman added.

She said there would be no "retrospective" examination in inspections about how schools had delivered remote learning in the pandemic, and that the inspectorate looked at schools "as we find them".

Ofsted said last week that it was carefully considering what form its inspections would take when it did return to schools. It has come under increasing pressure from headteachers to avoid resuming full inspections in January because of rising rates of coronavirus.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has said routine inspections are "unthinkable" in January given the rising R number in the country. 

Both the Department for Education and Ofsted have previously said it was planned for inspections to resume in January. 

In the committee hearing, Ms Spielman also confirmed that Ofsted "outstanding" schools would now fall into the scope of routine inspections and that this was "hot off the press". The Department for Education had already backed plans to inspect "outstanding" schools routinely, as it does for schools in other categories, at the beginning of October.

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